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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Two posts ....

One from the Episcopal Cafe .....

Clementi's death a "call to action"

Integrity USA, the voice of advocacy for LGBT Christians in the Episcopal Church, has issued a "call to action" to the Episcopal Church following the suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers this week. Clementi is the fourth young person in the month of September to have committed suicide because of bullying and teasing due to their sexuality.

"We challenge our clergy in the Episcopal Church to take to their pulpits this Sunday to speak out against all forms of bullying and the systemic homophobia behind it. We need to be reminded, over and over again, of the promise of our baptismal covenant: to respect the dignity of every human being.

We challenge the people in our church pews and in our communities to speak out whenever our young gay brothers and sisters are attacked. Statistics show that 9 out of 10 gay youth have been bullied and sadly, too often it goes unreported. It is time that we reclaim the rights of our young people to be safe in the context of who they are.

We challenge our politicians and government leaders to pass legislation to end any existing discriminatory laws or policies against the LGBT community.

We challenge each other to always be the face and hands of God in the world to spread love and acceptance."


And this from US Catholic .....

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We need victim-centered reform
By Guest blogger Michael J. Sanem

During his visit to the United Kingdom last month, Pope Benedict publicly acknowledged the "deep shame and humiliation" felt by the entire church as a result of the sex abuse scandal currently sweeping across Europe. As he did in the United States two years ago, Pope Benedict has given us a powerful model to follow if we honestly seek reconciliation and healing from this widespread tragedy. Rather than a band-aid change in church structures, any authentic reform will first carefully listen to the voice of the victims, and seek the movement of the Spirit therein.

The voice of the victim is the "voice crying out in the wilderness" that we are uncomfortable hearing. But when we listen carefully, we awaken to the tragic consequences of a flawed concept of church, one in which the ordained are superhuman and the laity are somehow secondhand receptors of God's grace.

Though the reforms of the Second Vatican Council sought to amend these errors, at the level of practicality they have only been reinforced by church policy, resulting in an endemic clericalism and an assumption of divine privilege by the clergy and bishops responsible.

St. Augustine, Doctor of Church and wise bishop himself, recognized the grave danger of his office when he wrote, "To you I am the bishop, with you I am a Christian. The first is an office, the second a grace; the first a danger, the second salvation." Augustine knew the grace of salvation lay in solidarity with the laity, not in his holy office.

At last Easter's mass in Rome, the bishops and Roman Curia rallied around Pope Benedict, praising his courage in the face of adversity, but following Augustine's wisdom it would be more appropriate to acknowledge the courage of those victims, all of them baptized, who have suffered in shame and despair for decades.

As Catholics, we tend to emphasize Peter's chosen status as the apostle who could recognize Jesus as the Christ, but we often grapple with our own ability to deny Christ as he is present in the marginalized. When we choose clericalism over justice and triumphalism over humble repentance, Christ present in vulnerable child is once again denied, betrayed, and in the case of those victims who have committed suicide (warning: graphic content), crucified.

At the end of the Gospel of John we meet a Peter who, after denying Jesus, cannot recognize the risen Christ calling to him from the seashore (21: 1-19). Only through brash repentance does Peter finally see that Christ has called him to a very special task, to protect and nourish the most vulnerable members of the flock: "Feed my lambs." In troubled times such as these, when a scandal threatens to devour our church and aggressive secularists denounce our faith as delusional, we, like Peter our rock, are called to humbly acknowledge our own culpability before Christ present in victim of abuse.

When we as a whole church commit ourselves to listening to the victim, we will finally be able to reassert our love for Christ and our continued commitment to care for the most vulnerable among us. But before we do this, we must recognize that Christ and the grace of his healing is more present to us in the crucified victims of sexual abuse than in our wounded pride and stubborn triumphalism.

Guest blogger Michael J. Sanem is a young adult pursuing his master's degree at Catholic Theological Union. He mentors youth through CTU's Peacebuilders Initiative, and he also blogs at Where there is despair.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Juan Lino said...

Michael J. Sanem raises a very important topic but I think his last paragraph needs to be clarified because it seems to overlook something very important - that "Christ and the grace of his healing is more present to us" in an absolutely potent way in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Eucharist.

What I find most upsetting lately is that the victims of human trafficking are being downplayed - especially in comparison to LGBT issues, which is the media's flavor of the decade! I've been doing research on human trafficking lately and the link to the pornographic culture/mindset is so clear; but, since pornography is one of our culture's "sacred idols" no one seems to want to tackle it!

I also wonder if anyone has analyzed if there is a link between the priests who raped children and pornography and/or NAMBLA. I know that the one in Boston was part of NAMBLA.

2:53 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Are you saying that you see some link between homosexuality and pedophilia? From all I've read, there is no connection - homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Juan Lino said...

No. I believe that NAMBLA and pornography both share the same root - the justification of the objectification of the human person through the manipulation of language. (For example, many men justify the implicit support of human trafficking by buying/using porongraphy while thinking, well no one gets hurt, etc.) While it is true that some human trafficking involves using persons to be domestic slaves, that's a very small part. And most of the victims, sadly, are women or girls. Regarding the link, I know that many pedophiles also have large collections of child pornography and NAMBLA seems to offer "sophisticated" reasons for their position and I am wondering if anyone has done a study linking those facts - if such a link actually exists.

12:59 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I don't know the answer to that question, and I didn't know much about NAMBA, but I just looked up the Wikipedia page on it, which has a lot of info ... link. One thing ths page does show is the distinction between NAMBA and gay/lesbian groups. I agree with you about NAMBA and pornography - they objectify people and are, in my opinion, bad. I did see a page that had some links to articles on trafficking and pornography - Trafficking and pornography: the links.

1:33 PM  

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